Bristol-based subsea company Rovco has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Dr Iain Wallace as chief technology officer (CTO).
The move reinforces the firm’s strategic vision to deliver subsea services that increase value and reduce risk through the use of innovative technologies, Rovco said.
A former technical lead for the European Space Agency, Wallace will drive the development of a real-time 3D vision system for ROVs and AUVs. He will also explore how artificial intelligence can be used to solve asset integrity issues by extracting actionable information from traditional video survey data.
As CTO, he will enhance Rovco’s state-of-the-art underwater photogrammetric 3D modelling capabilities utilising the latest simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) techniques for complex underwater inspections.
Wallace joins Rovco from SCISYS, a leading computer software and services company, where he was an autonomy and robotics analyst, focussed on developing innovative robotic navigation and scene understanding technology for the UK and European Space Agencies. Prior to this he was a research associate at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, where his work included the implementation of an indoor localisation system.
With more than 15 years’ experience in the robotics, computer science and software engineering space, Wallace also worked on the European Space Agency’s Master project and the UK Space Agency’s Chameleon field trial. During this time, he developed an autonomous exploration rover to detect targets of interest and survey the geological characteristics of an area while in transit. Wallace said: “The space and subsea sectors are very similar in many ways. Outer space and underwater are the two frontiers of discovery, which have both benefitted from mapping and exploration technology to unearth what lies beneath and beyond. Both are accustomed to harsh environments, extremely remote operations and are constantly on the lookout for technologies which will make operations simpler, safer and increase the return on investment, be it science discovery or accurate survey outputs.
“I am looking forward to exchanging my knowledge and experience across these sectors, while working for a company that is pushing the boundaries to develop technology that supports future offshore operations.”
Wallace will also assist the Bristol-based firm in attracting and securing future equity as the company looks to grow its UKCS position and gears up for further overseas expansion. Brian Allen, CEO of Rovco, added: “Our aim is to be at the forefront of technological innovation in our industry. We are investing in the development and deployment of systems and services that deliver real value to our customers. Iain will be instrumental in driving this strategy forward while also developing our ROV 3D visualisation offerings and AUV capability. He understands the complexities of our business and brings an impressive set of technical and engineering skills. We are pleased to welcome him to the team.”